In my last two Top 10 posts I poked some fun at common gym behavior and gave some clues on recognizing the signs of when your workouts aren’t so good (that’s the nice way to say it). So today I thought I’d share the opposite; how do you recognize when you’ve crushed your workout? How do you know when your workout was KICKASS?
Here you go!
1. You Feel Accomplished – I’ve often said that a properly designed exercise program can transcend all aspects of life and reach beyond your time in the gym. Being committed, setting goals, having a plan etc; these all teach us valuable lessons that can be applied to everyday life. When you leave the gym, you should feel like you just climbed one rung in the ladder of your life. Your workout has the ability to prepare you for life outside the gym.
2. You Tried Something New – I’ve said it all too often – many trainees get stuck in a rut and end up on the same old boring routine forever. Try something new each time your in the gym; take a different class or trainer, learn a new exercise and practice your form. Just do something different, even changing the order of exercises you already use is great. Or maybe use a different rep scheme, rest time, exercising pairing etc. Do something you’ve never done before and you’ll be on your way to seeing improvements.
3. You Listened To Your Body – Maybe the best indicator your workout was great was by not having one! Too many of us are so regimented that even when we’re hurt, sick, over-trained or run down, we still feel like we must workout. A truly smart trainee listens to their body not only during the workout, but before it too. Sometimes the best thing for our bodies is to stay out of the gym. Recognizing that need is kickass!
4. You Had A Partner Workout – Sharing your passion for fitness and trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle is contagious. Whether it’s your spouse, children, friends or relatives, a workout out with a partner is two times the fun. You can motivate, encourage and share you experiences with one another. Plus a little friendly competition can go along way in helping reach your goals.
5. You Didn’t Judge Your Workout By Time – When most people tell me about their workout, they always use the session duration as a way to evaluate the workout. This is a false correlation. Don’t go to the gym with reaching a specific time in mind, but rather focus on how much you get done and in what time frame. In short, think about working hard, not long. I suggest that your workouts should be planned around reaching goals and just let the time end where it may.
6. You Feel Invigorated – When your done with the workout, do you feel like ‘HECK YEAH!, I just did that!’ Are you so excited with what you just did that you can’t wait to Instagram it? Then guess what? Your workout was kick ass! A great workout should brighten your day, make you feel empowered and energized. If it doesn’t, I’d say it’s time for a change.
7. You Progressed – When you feel different, when you can see a change, it’s an awesome feeling. Maybe you’re now a pro at an exercise that really challenged you months ago. Perhaps you notice a real change in strength and conditioning. Or maybe you can see muscles popping in the mirror that weren’t there before. With a great workout, you should be noticing changes both in the gym and out. Try to recall what it was like when you first started. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how far we’ve come.
8. You Almost Canceled! – You’ve had these days, so have I. Some days you just don’t feel like working out; maybe you’re depressed or a little down. So you debate all day back and forth – should I, shouldn’t I go? But then the real dedication shows through and you get the workout in. That’s awesome and the sign of a true fitness driven lifestyle. And in many cases, at least in my experience, these are some of the best workouts and actually make me feel better for the rest of the day.
9. You Reached a PR – Setting a personal record is always an amazing feeling. When you’ve planned and stayed focused on reaching a goal, and then actually reach it, it’s simply an amazing moment and a sign you’ve reached a new level. PR’s can be set on anything – maybe you got 100 swings of the jump rope without a miss or this time you knocked 2 minutes of your favorite CrossFit WOD time. Maybe you ran the mile faster than ever. And of course reaching a new max lift is always rewarding. Whatever it is, setting personal records should be part of your program.
10. You Just Feel Like A Badass! – What can I say? If you enjoy working out as much as I do, you’ll probably relate to everything I’ve just shared. And you too feel like a total badass when your workout is over. In fact you expect people to refer to you as Mr. or Ms. Badass! You walk taller, you feel stronger, you’re more confident and feel like a million dollars. You feel like you’ve just done something incredible and you can’t wait to do it again. Who’s with me?
So there you have my Top 10 Signs Your Workout Was Kickass! If you’re reading this and can’t relate, I strongly urge you to change up your workout and don’t stop trying new things until the day when you re-read this and say ‘Hell Yes!’. A properly designed and followed exercise program will literally give you life and make you feel like you have a new found purpose.